Timeout for Art: Happy in Nature


“Only by going alone in silence, without baggage, can one truly get into the heart of the wilderness. All other travel is mere dust and hotels and baggage and chatter.” –John Muir in a letter to his wife Louie in July 1888 

Visiting my mother in the states for two weeks, I find that I miss the solitude and the heart of nature. Street lights, traffic, crowded stores, a hot concrete jungle, and constant artificial chatter unnerve me. I am happiest in nature.

Opening the local paper listing events in South Carolina, I had a serendipitous moment when I noticed a tiny picture of a painting by Albert Bierstadt, Valley of the Yosemite, 1864. Zeebra Designs and Destinations Timeout for Art this week is Happy in Nature! The theme was a perfect reminder of the peacefulness I needed to overcome my cultural shock.

There is no happier place in nature than Yosemite. Our son, Cory, works in Yosemite as an interpretive naturalist. Because I can’t visit him on this trip to the states, and I’m in a bit of a cultural shock frenzy, I grabbed my sketch pad and settled into a tranquil mode of sketching Albert Bierstadt’s painting. With every line and soft shade, I was transported to Yosemite and to our son, who shares his love of nature with us.

IMG_3155Below is One Day in Yosemite, with several clips of artists painting in Yosemite. If I can’t join them, I can live vicariously through my sketch.

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18 thoughts on “Timeout for Art: Happy in Nature

  1. Pingback: Beauty | the terrain of symmetry

  2. Really enjoy your blog. We live in Granada moving here from SC. Just wondering where in SC did you visit?

    • Thanks, Darrell. My brother and my mother live in Greenville, SC. Wouldn’t it be something if that is where you used to live? Do you know Carol and Jim in Granada? Carol and I lived in the same little town in TN for 20 years. We had some of the same friends, but we never met each other until they visited Ometepe Island 3 years ago. Now, that’s incredible.

  3. “In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks”-John Muir. If you happen to do another sketch and want to send it to me I would LOVE to hang it on my wall. -oneson

  4. Yosemite is where our desire to live somewhere other than the cacophony of most U.S. cities began. In 34 days we will be retreating to a village of 2,000 on the Pacific coast of Panama, almost 5 hours from Panama City. We will live in the village, not in an Expat Enclave behind gates.

    • Yes! I felt that way, too the first time we visited Yosemite. It is such a magical, spiritual place. Where will you be living in Panama? We’ve visited Panama many times and at one time considered moving there. Thanks for your comment, Sunnymikkel. If you are ever up our way…Ometepe Island, stop by for a visit.

  5. Your drawing is lovely! Isn’t it magical how art can transport us elsewhere?
    I totally understand how awkward it is to be with the people you love (and miss) so much, yet miss that simple interaction with the earth – away from the sounds and frenzy of the mainstream of life. I’ve share this before, but here it is again.. someone else understands that feeling, and he articulates it through his music:

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